More than 100 passengers aboard an Italy-India flight have tested positive for Covid-19 after landing in the northern Indian city of Amritsar on Wednesday 5 January. Health officials have said they will all be placed in isolation after the results.
They were 125 out of 179 people who boarded the flight from Milan, with children and babies being exempt from the testing. Tests totalling 160 were administered with 125 coming back as positive and more now expected over the coming days. TV pictures showed ambulances lined up outside the airport to take away the infected passengers from the Italy-India flight and crowds outside the entrance gates.
India has reported a six-fold rise in cases over the past week due to the Omicron variant taking hold, with 90,000 cases being given as the official figure on Thursday 6 January. The country recorded 325 deaths in the same 4 hours, but only one of those has been linked to Omicron, reports BBC news.
Officials say the Omicron variant is the predominant strain in Indian cities and mass gatherings should be avoided. The states of Maharashtra, West Bengal, Delhi, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Jharkhand are deemed to be “emerging states of concern”, with a sharp increase in weekly cases and positivity rates.
India suffered through a huge second wave in April and May 2021 and many hospitals ran out of oxygen and life-saving medicine. While initial data show that Omicron is much less likely to cause hospitalisation, the sheer volume of cases is still worrying experts.
Doctors fear that a surge could still derail healthcare services – especially as India is headed for multiple state elections, which are often accompanied by massive rallies. Several states, including Delhi and Maharashtra, have reintroduced curbs and temporary curfews to limit gatherings and slow the spread of the virus.
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